“US Rocket System Enables Ukraine to Strike Key Supply Bridge”


“The Ukrainian military used a U.S.-supplied precision rocket system to deliver a morale-lifting knockout punch Wednesday to a bridge Russia used to supply its forces in an occupied region of southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian artillery struck the Antonivskyi Bridge late Tuesday, the deputy head of the Moscow-appointed administration for the Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, said. The bridge, which crosses the Dnieper River in the southern region, was still standing Wednesday, he said.

However, holes in its deck prevented vehicles from crossing the 1.4-kilometer (0.9-mile) span, Stremousov said. After previous Ukrainian attacks damaged the bridge last week, it was closed to trucks but remained open for passenger vehicles until the latest strike.

Ukrainian forces used U.S.-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to target the bridge, Stremousov said. A spokesperson for the Ukrainian military’s Southern Command, Nataliya Gumenyuk, told Ukrainian TV that “surgical strikes” were carried out on the bridge.

The HIMARS system has added a more modern technological component to Ukraine’s dated military assets.

The HIMARS have a longer range, much better precision and a faster rate of fire compared with the Soviet-designed Smerch, Uragan and Tornado multiple rocket launchers used by both Russia and Ukraine.

Ukraine’s presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak, said on Twitter Wednesday that “occupiers should learn how to swim across” the Dnieper River or “leave Kherson while it is still possible.” “There may not be a third warning,” Podolyak tweeted.”

Comment: Someone on the blog said that “a few launchers and howitzers” would not make a difference?

US Rocket System Enables Ukraine to Strike Key Supply Bridge | Newsmax.com

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57 Responses to “US Rocket System Enables Ukraine to Strike Key Supply Bridge”

  1. Fourth and Long says:

    Very useful brief review of situations along the Ingulets and Dnieper in Kherson area with interactive maps and video clips.

    Ukraine Captures 3 Towns in Kherson, Gains Bridgehead over Inhulets River:

    Rand Corp report on escalation dangers. (10 v short pages).


    Brief summary of Rand report.

    From which:
    The US and its NATO allies need to take a series of steps to avoid a direct conflict with Russia over Ukraine, the Pentagon’s foremost think-tank advised in a report published on Tuesday. Sanctions against Russia have created conditions for one of the escalation pathways already, while the continuing flow of weapons and volunteers to Ukraine may trigger others, the RAND Corporation warned.

    Concerns that the conflict in Ukraine will “escalate to a Russia-NATO clash” are “warranted,” said the outfit, which has been doing research and analysis for the US military since 1948. While plausible, such escalation is not inevitable if the US and its allies take some steps to fend it off, according to the report.

    RAND researchers laid out “four plausible horizontal escalation pathways,” starting with the anti-Russian sanctions already implemented by the US and its allies. The other three possibilities involve Moscow coming to believe a direct NATO involvement is imminent; that weapons delivered to Ukraine are making a major difference on the battlefield; or that unrest within Russia is threatening the government.
    Moscow has yet to respond directly in any substantial manner,” to Western actions, from sanctions to arming Ukraine, which RAND assumes have “immiserated Russia and led to the death of many Russian soldiers.” The researchers explain this by offering up speculation that the “Kremlin’s preoccupation with its faltering campaign in Ukraine might be consuming senior leaders’ limited bandwidth.”

    They also assume that Russia is running out of long-range missiles, a claim Western intelligence agencies have been making since March – and therefore may feel pressured to strike NATO territory if it feels the US-led bloc might get directly involved.
    Deploying long-range strike capabilities in the Baltic States, Poland, and Romania, or having volunteers from NATO member states take part in the fighting – which has already happened – would promote this conclusion, RAND warns, adding that this pathway may lead to “plausible” use of nuclear weapons.
    Continue to signal that the United States and NATO allies have no plans to directly enter the conflict,” RAND advised Washington, as this is needed to counter public statements by “current or former government officials” about Russian “atrocities” and calls for regime change.

    NATO should still “increase force presence in the east” but focus on “defensive” capabilities and re-evaluate activities such as drills “to avoid creating a false impression of preparation for offensive action,” the researchers said.

    If Western weapons flowing into Ukraine begin to “turn the conflict dramatically against Russia,” Moscow might target their supply nodes, the report claims. Such attacks could start out as “covert or non-kinetic” and escalate from there; one example given is the 2014 explosion at the Czech ammunition depot, which Western media and the intelligence-adjacent outfit Bellingcat blamed on Russia, without evidence.

    One proposed countermeasure is to keep NATO training and supply facilities used to aid Ukraine “dispersed and covert, wherever possible.”

    Another admission, buried deep in the report, is that Western weapons assistance has not managed to “turn the conflict dramatically against Russia.”
    The last scenario envisions Moscow interpreting large-scale protests as “a non-kinetic NATO attack.” While mass demonstrations are yet to take place in Russia, “the dramatic economic contraction that has resulted from the war might well be the spark for such broader popular unrest once economic pain is felt over the medium to long term,” the RAND report said.

    The trouble is that Moscow might perceive such protests as “evidence of a coordinated Western campaign to topple the Russian government,” so NATO needs to “maintain the message discipline” that its objective is “the cessation of conflict, not the end of the Putin regime.”

    At the very end, the report cautions that the US and its allies “could be the engine of escalation as easily as Russia could,” and that any escalation spiral is as likely to start with their actions. As the report focused on possible Russian actions, however, that warning was left unexplored.

  2. Babeltuap says:

    It doesn’t take that long to lay out a modular bridge. A good bridge squad (not platoon) can breech a small river in less than 20 mins. I watched them at the Army Corps of Engineers do one in 17 mins with an old Bailey Bridge but here is a newer system.


    I’m not a fan of Russia but blowing up a bridge is a marginal impact.

    • Pat Lang says:

      How wide is the Dnieper where the highway crosses it?

      • Babeltuap says:


        It’s hard to find a good sitrep on the bridges right now. All I have is my own engineering experience and an ARTEP we conducted for a couple of weeks for some General to get his next star.

        In the computer exercise we got our bridge blown up but it wasn’t a big deal. We threw up a couple more and had most of our forces across in less than an hour. The Russians know the terrain well so it’s likely a minor setback.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        “How wide is the Dnieper where the highway crosses it?”

        It’s a kilometer. But the existing pylons are still there, so there are several anchor-point across that span.

        There is also a railway bridge just north of the road bridge: the Russians could building a pontoon bridge under that, again using the existing pylons to anchor the sections.

        And if they really want to they could throw up some pontoon bridges opposite the southern end of Kherson where the river is much less that 500 meters across.

        They actually have more than one option.

    • TTG says:


      It takes even less time to blow those modular and pontoon bridges apart with one HIMARS or excalibur round salvo. Bridging the Dneiper will take a major pontoon bridge. Right now, the Russians are trying to use ferries because they know a pontoon bridge won’t last the night.

      • Babeltuap says:


        We will find out together the effectiveness of blowing up the means of transportation in one’s own country, specifically bridges. Historically however it rarely works out. More of a last resort measure.

        • Leith says:

          Babelthuap –

          The Ukrainians were darn crafty on targeting that bridge. [They focused on just a single span of the 30 plus spans, and did not hit the any of the 31 pillars. It can be repaired later. I expect the targeteers had the advice of the civil engineers involved in the bridge design and construction.

          • Fred says:


            “They focused on just a single span…”

            So the Russians don’t need a complete bridge, just one section? That sure makes their problem easier to solve.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            The fact that they can target and hit a single span is highly significant. They do not need to destroy the piers, enough damage to the deck and beams and the thing will become completely unusable. But I’m sure, as some here write, it will not be a big deal.. \s

          • Peter Williams says:

            Russian engineers have already started to repair the bridge. They have documentation on the design and construction.

        • Leith says:

          Peter W. & Fred –

          Good! Let them waste the time and resources. The Ukrainians will take it out again at their convenience.

  3. Lars says:

    My question to the military experts is: Is the US military and NATO’s learning anything from what seems to be a kind of laboratory in Ukraine?

    • Pat Lang says:

      I doubt it. These armies are not the first team in terms of skill.

    • Poul says:

      My answer would be No.

      You rarely see armies learn much from other nations wars. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 gave a good heads-up for how things would go in the beginning of WW1. No one took heed.

      My guess for a lesson learn in this war. It would be the need for much greater stockpiles of munitions, ability to produce new munition and plans to upgrade the production of existing weapons systems like Stinger regularly. So you don’t need to redesign the weapon because the old electronic components no longer are produced. It’s not good to find out that you have to wait until 2026 before a new batch of Stringers can be delivered.

  4. Fourth and Long says:

    Fed Chief Powell yesterday said US not in recession. Next day the United Blingdom’s Daily Tell a Laugh tells me:

    US in Recession.

    But the New York Times, last I looked at 10 AM Eastern, couldn’t bring itself to say so.

    If you bother to read the Rand Corp report linked to in another post you’ll see that one suggestion is to beware of sending the wrong signals. That’s good advice. But when our top officials haven’t the slightest idea what year it is? Or Fed Chairman who doesn’t know we’re in a recession the day before it’s established we are?

  5. borko says:

    A summer offensive from the west, centered around a city on a river bank, held by Russians, resupplied using ferries. Chuikov must be stirring in his grave.

    • Leith says:

      Chuikov is definitely stirring. But then he had 13 full strength divisions, another nine separate brigades, and air superiority provided by the 8th Air Army. Plus 14 more divisions on his flanks, and six more Armies of the Don & SW fronts already across the river to his north. He is probably stirring and sputtering to tell Generals Gerasimov & Zhidko to send more troops.

      But no matter, Ukraine won’t attack Kherson City directly. Their problem is to keep the Russians from destroying the city, and destroying the bridge after they leave.

    • drifter says:

      My thought exactly. But things have also changed a lot since then.

  6. SRW says:

    Interesting read about Russia’s economy. Not looking too good.

    • Fred says:


      “Irrevocable”. Never, if the EU lasts 1,000 years, will they buy Russian gas, nickel, pot ash. This was floated a week ago, after months of sanctions the Russians are broke! Maybe in a Friedman unit or two they will finally collapse.

      This is, of course, a completely unbiased analysis by the academics.
      “Sonnenfeld was involved in efforts to encourage multinational businesses to exit Russia through the Yale CELI List of Companies in collaboration with top Ukrainian government officials.”

      per wiki on Sonnenfeld.

  7. TR says:

    While this is undoubtedly a psychological victory for the Ukrainians, what real difference has it made to the ongoing Russian advance? Hard to see where it has done anything other than slow down what was already a slow methodical advance.

  8. Babeltuap says:

    We are in a full blown recession.

    The bridge is not blown up but things change on the battlefield:


  9. Christian J. Chuba says:

    So why hasn’t Zelensky liberated southern Ukraine?
    He announced the offensive two weeks ago. Damaging the bridge is meaningless.

  10. Leith says:

    No way an assault type bridge or an old Bailey can be used there, it is over 1350 meters wide. A pontoon bridge can be just as easily targeted as the main bridge. The Russians will use pontoon sections as ferries, hopefully all full when heading east. Plus the Antonovsky bridge can still take pedestrian traffic for any would be deserters. The rail bridge was also hit. Any repair crew will be targeted.

    If the Ukrainians can retake all occupied land west of the Dneiper, then the river will give them a good defensive line. Plus a good HIMARS & Tochka base to target the rail lines and road bridges from Crimea. And plenty of opportunity to do commando style raids by boat or helo into the area east of the Dneiper until the offensive to liberate Zaporizhzhia Province begins.

    • Worth Pointing Out says:

      “No way an assault type bridge or an old Bailey can be used there, it is over 1350 meters wide.”

      Why not? The exiting bridge is still standing, so they could tether a pontoon bridge to the existing pylons. Seems very doable to me.

      “A pontoon bridge can be just as easily targeted as the main bridge.”

      Well, no, not if you tethered it to the existing pylons on the leeward side of where the HIMARS rockets are coming from.

      Do that and the existing bridge is providing cover for the pontoon bridge e.g. this would be the only pontoon bridge in the world with its own concrete bunker.

      • Leith says:

        WPO –

        Is the leeward side upstream or downstream? Looking at the current front lines in that area, HIMARS could launch their rockets from either side. Or straight on if needed. They are not anchored to a specific location. They are mobile and on trucks so can just as easily be moved to fire from a wide range of launch sites.

        Plus someone on the Russian staff is too smart to try a pontoon bridge, so they are using pontoon sections as ferries. Those may soon be taken out, but it would be better to leave them and launch artillery and rocket strikes on the loading staging areas or the unlaoding points.

    • Babeltuap says:

      They have been planning this for a while, know the terrain and are not using Bailey Bridges from WWII. If you watch the twitter link I posted it’s a modern pontoon bridge which have been used for thousands of years. It’s not that hard to breach a river.

      One can be set up and crossed swiftly in a matter of hours or less depending on where it is deployed. As for blowing it up, we will find out together but a retreating force is probably not going to be focusing on constantly blowing up bridges.

      I understand I am the devil for pointing out things that emotionally are hard to take in like Federal elections laws being broken, masks clinically proven not to work, vaccines not working and the FBI fully engaged instigating J6 but believe what you want as Czar said.

  11. scott s. says:

    Would be interesting for a targeteer to pull out his JMEM and see how M31 GMLRS would work on this structure. Sounds like the deck is damaged but no structural failure (though that might be hard to tell). But from experience with Tomahawk in DS, while JMEM might say it wouldn’t result in a certain level of destruction, that ignores the psychological impact. I don’t really know about those GMLRS rockets, but it seems there are some terminal tactics variations available to the weaponeer. Likewise if they got ATACMS.

    Years ago when I was a lowly naval engineer, the Navy did see fit to send me to “Strike U” at NAS Fallon to learn a little bit about the game.

  12. Worth Pointing Out says:

    I’ve heard reports that the Ukrainians tried several times to hit that bridge after the first successful attempt, and each time the HIMARS rockets were intercepted. 100% success rate, zero leakage.

    They succeeded this time because – apparently – they fired over 80 HIMARS rockets to overwhelm the defenses. Eight rockets got through i.e. 10% leakage, all at the very end of the barrage.

    My math may be a little shaky, but a salvo of that magnitude means that the Ukrainians committed at least 12 HIMARS systems, and succeeded in poking eight holes in the road surface.

    Seems to me that it is not a particularly efficient use of a limited resource, not when this is a bridge that is only a few miles upstream of the river mouth.

    Because even if they did manage to drop a span (they haven’t) what stops the Russians from supplying the city via barges? Are the Ukrainians going to HIMARS the mouth of the river?

    • Fred says:


      But they are winning the narrative! Now we have the Vogue shoot, wall to wall media coverage of the virtuous defenders of Joe Biden’s son, I mean defenders of Sacred Ukraine! I’ve sure all the audience of The View and the affluent coffee klatch ladies all feel good about these great victories. It certainly takes their minds off $5 eggs and $5 gas.

  13. Sam says:

    The argument for negotiations is premised on the assumption that Putin is fighting for national security. That assumption, in my view, is false: Putin is fighting for regime security, and the difference is much more than semantic.


    This is a perspective that one doesn’t read about much. The conventional wisdom in some quarters is that Putin invaded Ukraine because he didn’t want NATO on his border. But what if as Sam Greene argues here that the issue is Putin’s fear of the security of his government?

    • SRW says:

      I agree with this article 100%. Putin cares more for his regiems stability than any concern about NATO. A western oriented prosperous Ukraine would be the end of his kelptocratic government. This is not to say that Ukraine doesn’t has work to do on reforming government but it would be much more likely there than in Russia.

  14. Jake says:

    Educate me, please. Part of the problem may be the language barrier. The meaning of certain words, either in translation, or within a certain group of experts. I struggle with ‘game-changer’. First of all, war is no game from my perspective, and since the fall-out is already having a serious impact on my own options as a European as we speak, I hope I’ll be excused for being eager to end it. Preferably in such a way that peace between the warring parties will ensue. I do understand that this may sound like a very selfish, even ‘peacenik’ point of view, and I accept that there will always be people who will curse me because of it, exclaiming that there cannot be peace until…..

    If I step away from my own desire to end this, and focus on ‘game-changer’ as something important to a warring party, or their supporters, my initial thought is that something happened which reversed the course of war. However, I do understand that there is also a narrow perspective where certain experts are not entertaining a broad perspective on how to win a war, but limit themselves to improving their own performance, or the performance of certain parts of the military they watch closely. For example, during the war in Vietnam the ‘state of the art’ jets proved to be too fast, and the Air Force dusted off the Douglas A-1 Skyraider. Within the narrow perspective of what that part of the US military was supposed to do, it was an improvement. A ‘game changer’. But the war was lost anyhow.

    So, I can see why the introduction of Himars, and finally being able to punch a few holes in a bridge, could be seen as a ‘game changer’. But I saw the pictures, and even a video of the damage done, and read the reports, and I’m puzzled. A couple of holes in the pavement. The bridge still standing. Capable of handling traffic after emergency repairs, but no trucks, for the time being. Yet the railroad bridge six kilometers upstream is still fully functional, and no doubt the Russians will find a way for tanks and armor to cross that bridge, even without flatbed railway cars if they have to. Then there is the crossing using the dam which was targeted, but not seriously damaged, and the Russians apparently anticipated on something like this, and brought in numerous ferry’s?

    Explain to me why these holes in the pavement are a ‘game changer’? And since the Russians claimed to have killed four Himars systems already, and to have destroyed a warehouse containing ammunition for these Himars launching platforms, with only limited stock, I’m struggling to understand the enthusiasm. So, educate me. Tell me why this is important? What am I missing?

    • Barbara Ann says:


      Who here speaks of game changers?

      In terms of your education we must know where to start. Do you know what Operation Druid Leader was, who ran it and what outcome it directly led to?

      • Jake says:

        Barbara Ann,

        You may want to start with Adam and Eve if we’re going down that road. I do not subscribe to having champions. What I’m after, is learning how to operate the machine, and not everything there is to know about the man, or woman, who created it.

        • Barbara Ann says:


          I’ll take that as a no. If you are truly here to be educated we are going to need know what this machine is you wish to operate, can you describe it for us please?

          • Jake says:

            Barbara Ann, seriously, I’m not commenting, and asking questions on these pages, to rub people the wrong way. I do not claim to be an expert on military matters in the league as Pat Lang. And I discovered the Turcopolier website many years ago, linking to more than a few articles posted here on my own blog. I maintained a Dutch language blog on (geo)-political issues for well over ten years, writing daily, frantically reading everything within reach, refraining from claiming expert-status for a reason. Even when the topic allows me to share first-hand knowledge. The reason for this, is that I’ve got this feeling that we have way too many experts, on everything, while the bulk of them are merely in the business of selling their own overblown ego, or acting as ‘groupies’.

            Each and every one of us, sharing thoughts on these pages, is witnessing the same ‘thing’, but seeing different developments, and drawing different conclusions. Yet, from experience, I know that people who blunder along, won’t stop and think, but try to deny, or fake it to make ends meet at the intellectual level. They will vehemently deny responsibility for an outcome which is utterly destructive, and my biggest fear at the moment is that the cheerleaders of this war-effort directed at ‘fighting the Russians’, will end up as (sore) losers. In an objective sense. Destroying Ukraine, as well as the rest of Europe, the UK and the US, from my perspective. And my perspective is that of a European, longing for prosperity, safety and security, not just for myself and my family, but for the world. While knowing full well that hard choices may be needed to make the best of it.

            In short, I do not seek to be educated to become an ‘expert’, but I want to know how hitting a bridge with a new set of toys is going to improve matters, apart from the childish sense of euphoria. So far, all I can see is destruction, adding billions and billions in debt to a mountain we cannot hope to erase from memory without tremendous suffering, and choices which are making things worse, promoting the advance of ‘Davos’-style solutions, backed up by NATO as a military force. And that doesn’t make me happy, to say it mildly. In short, I’m a ‘Win-Win’-type of guy, and not an ‘I win, You lose’-type of guy within the matrix proposed by economics professor Carlo Cipolla, when he wrote a teasing pamflet in which he claimed we underestimate the number of stupid people.


            The education I seek is about the outlook of people promoting the use of violence, in order to establish whether their war-machine is going to do stupid things, criminal things, intelligent things, or things which will leave us broke, cold and hungry, while turning the one we are helping into a multi-billionaire and the ‘Big Brother’-ruler of our lives.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            OK. Sorry for Socratic inquisition but many visitors here profess to be seeking knowledge whereas in reality they are merely after a platform for their (mostly) uninformed opinions.

            You are in the right place to learn about how to understand the outlook (motivations) of people and how this can be used as a behavioral predictor. As you may or may not be aware, our host used to run DIA HUMINT. The business of recruiting & running spies is of course the study of human motivations raised to an art form.

            The neocons whose every action has blown back in their faces and yet who continue regardless, fit well into Cipolla’s 3rd law of stupid (thanks for the link btw). The Ukraine war they provoked could well turn out to be the greatest triumph in the field of stupid in all of history.

            As for ‘Davos’-style solutions & the prospects of Big Brother ruling our lives, my views on this are well known here.

            Oh and the answers to the questions are in the penultimate chapter of Tattoo. Spoiler alert; DIA targeting intelligence provided to the US’ proxy (Iraq) led directly to Iran suing for peace – i.e. it decided the outcome of the war. What the US is doing right now via its proxy in Ukraine is based on this prototype.

            One bridge is not going to turn the tide, but you have to appreciate this will be part of a wider plan to degrade Russia’s ability to prosecute the war. Strelkov describes the bigger picture: “Over the past 5-7 days, more than 10 large warehouses of artillery and other ammunition, several oil depots, about a dozen command posts and about the same number of locations of personal composition in our [Russia’s] near and deep rear. As well as several air defense positions and artillery positions [were destroyed]”. The WordPress spam filter eats my comments when I try to provide a citation for Strelkov’s comment, I’ll try and include it elsewhere.

    • Leith says:

      Jake –

      There are no ‘game changer’ weapons, no wonder waffen. You must be listening to the media that were undoubtedly linked to press releases from the manufacturers.

      The game changers are the troops that use the weapon and the maintenance folks that keep them working. As someone much smarter than me said: “The technical characteristics and main tactics of any weapon depend on the user and what kind of training they have received.”

      Despite the hype about western weapon systems going to Ukraine, there are still Ukrainian troops using older Soviet weapons. Some are using pre-WW2 degtyaryov DP-27 machine guns. Some AT gunners still use 85mm D44 field guns. Those are just two examples. But you can bet the farm that those old weapons are well maintained and in good shape, and the troops that man them are well trained and proficient in their use.

      • Jake says:

        Okay Leith, I stand corrected, this topic is about:

        ‘a few launchers and howitzers which are making a difference’. Or not.

  15. Fred says:

    Why is Ukraine selling off weapons when they are in the middle of a war for survival? Who were those things destined for? If only Ukraine had a ‘prosecutor’ available to investigate…

    • Al says:

      Fred, From the article you submitted:
      “… Serbia’s defence minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said on Sunday morning the plane’s cargo was made by Serbia’s defence industry. It had taken off at 1840 GMT on Saturday from Nis in Serbia and the buyer of the cargo was the defence ministry of Bangladesh…”
      It would appear from this excerpt that Serbia was selling to Banladesh.

      Though the plane was operated by a Ukraine cargo firm, it is somewhat of a leap to infer that Ukraine was marketing the weapons.

      But then, reflecting back on the Reagan administration yrs, strange arm sales do occur!

      • Fred says:


        Yes in the midst of a war where the country’s president, when not busy posing for Vogue, begs for weapons from every NATO country, selling things off is just strange. Which of his defense people are betraying Ukraine to make a Euro or three? I wonder who else might be involved.

        “Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen brought up the barriers to Bangladesh buying US military weapons with the US undersecretary on political affairs Victoria Nuland during the partnership dialogue on 20 March. Nuland had assured that necessary steps would be taken to get rid of these barriers. Accordingly, the US has proposed special facilities to Bangladesh.”


        • Al says:

          Fred, what items did Ukraine have to sell off to Bangies? Those items were going from the Serbs, flown by a Ukraine chartered plane..for a transit fee?
          Maybe Ollie North was in on this 3-way transaction! He certainly would have the know how.

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